A/N See chapter 1 for disclaimers.
The scene had been repeated often over the years. Ever since the collapse of Sunnydale, people who had survived the collapse had opted to have their remains returned to where their families and loved ones were. Because no one was allowed into the crater, this meant that ashes were scattered, dropped or thrown into what remained of the town. The current group was not that remarkable, at least to the casual observer. There was an older man; obviously the patriarch, a middle aged man in a suit holding a teenage girl close; the widower and child, as well as family and friends of the decedent. Things didn't get unusual until the widower turned to a friend and said, "Can you locate Joyce's grave Willow?"
"Sure Xander," the red headed woman replied. Her eyes closed briefly in concentration and in the distance a golden glow could be seen.
The man handed a sealed cylinder to the teenager next to him, "you think you can get your mom close to your grandmother kiddo?"
For an answer the girl just hefted the cylinder in her hand, reared back and hurled it into the crater. Everyone tracked the cylinder, until it could no longer be seen. They stood in silence for a minute or two, each of them alone with their thoughts, everything that there was to say had already been said. They had each made their peace with Buffy Anne Summers and no other words were necessary. Finally as one, they turned away and headed back for the cars that had brought them there; well most of them did, the two men lingered at the edge of the crater.
"The last few days couldn't have been easy for you Xander."
"No they weren't Giles, I was so furious when she just showed up without warning. And then when she told me about her condition, I was ready to just let her leave."
"Then why didn't you, I must confess that as much as I cared for Buffy I would not have been nearly so forgiving as yourself."
"I doubt that Giles," Xander replied, then he got a serious look on his face. "When she showed up I could see that she was hurting and two things occurred to me; one was that she really was hurting herself over the whole situation much more effectively than I could; the second was that if anyone deserved a bit of peace and tranquility at the end, it was Buffy. So I gave her what she needed. That and I wanted Joy to have the chance to get to know her mother, its something she's needed to do."
Giles looked ahead at what was effectively his granddaughter; "now that this chapter of your lives is closed, what will you both do now Xander," the man asked his younger companion.
"Well, we talked and decided that Joyce will head to Cleveland with Robin and Faith. It's time she finished her training. After that it's up to her."
"Well, my life has kinda been on hold for ten years, I figured it was time to start living again. Any suggestions about that?"
"Well, you could come back to England with us."
"Really, you have an opening?"
"Yes actually, we're in dire need of a good Director of Operations."
"I don't know Giles, I've been out of the game for a while, I wouldn't want to take on anything I'm not ready for. That's a good way to get people killed."
"Xander, I would be very surprised if you haven't been keeping up with either your personal combat skills or your strategic abilities."
The younger man blushed, "I've tried, but how about we give me a bit of a trial period, just to make sure."
"As you wish, that will give you time to learn the strength and weaknesses of the other areas."
"Why would I need that?"
"So that I will have someone to replace me in the coming years."
Xander looked at the man, his expression incredulous, "but Robin . . . . ."
"Has decided to stay in Cleveland, I need someone to take my place. Not immediately but I can feel it coming."
"If you're sure."
"My boy, I've rarely been more certain about anything."
Xander walked along in silence, he finally muttered, "thanks Giles."
The older man just put his arm around the younger and together they made their way home.
A/N II I was in semi-depressed mood when I watched the first episode of season 7 on DVD. There was just Xander, Buffy and Dawn and it got me thinking about the B/X relationship. Now I will admit to being much more in favor of Xander getting some slayer lovin' then Angel and the less said about Spike the better, but I had never really considered the thing seriously. It had always been the 'Buffy finally notices Xander and they live happily ever after' thing and I'd procede from there. But as I said, my mood wasn't the best and as I sat there recalling how Buffy had imploded the whole Riley relationship and banged slick talking Parker right out of the gate; I wondered just how a Buffy/Xander relationship would truly be. Obviously this is my interpretation of what would happen, but I think that the evidence is there for the scenario I've written about to be not only plausible, but likely. I am sure that some of you reading this think I'm so wrong that it's not even funny, but then you are free to write your own version of Buffy/Xander. As always, I'd like to thank all of you that have read and reviewed my story, your coments mean a lot to me, even if they are negative at times. I think for my next story, I'll jump into the F/X pool again, my muse is whispering in my ear even as I'm writing this; so be seing ya.